P-trap Installation: Doesn’t Line Up: no room or tight Space (Do THIS!)

P-traps are important as they keep bad smells out of our kitchens and bathrooms. They are often required by code and every sink should have one. Installing them can be quite tricky though. In this post, we are going to discuss how you can install one when the drains don’t line up and when you don’t have a lot of space. Let’s dive in!


p trap won’t line up: too low or far to the wall and drain

If you remodel, it is possible that the two drains don’t line up properly. You will have to do some work to connect them both. Luckily it is not that difficult to get it done. It is a small puzzle. Most stores offer P-trap kits, making things easier to install.

Drains often are made out of PVC or PP.  We have discussed how to glue PVC HERE. If we work with glue, we have to measure the length of the drain by measuring from the center of one connection (or fitting) to the other one. This makes sure that a part of the drain goes in the connection and creates a proper seal. 

Sometimes rings are included that you just have to tighten. This is easier to install as you can adjust everything if you notice that a piece is too long or short. There are also systems with rubber rings that allow you to slide the pieces together. This is easier to install than using glue for the drains as you can adjust things along the way.

Getting the height right is often the easiest. You can lower the drain that connects to the sink by adding a piece or lowering the connection. If it needs to be higher, you can cut a piece from this drain as well. You can get an extension piece with the P-trap kit. It is a great idea to get this.

Don’t add more pieces than needed. Each connection is a weak point that can leak or clog. For this reason, we should try to be efficient as possible so that the water can flow without too many interruptions.

The drain that comes from the sink has to be vertical. Then we add the P-trap. The drains after this have to be level or at a slight slope if it is a longer piece.

We also have to keep the size of the drain into account. Don’t narrow it too much as this can cause clogs or other problems. 

Getting the width right can be more challenging as the angle that the pipe comes from doesn’t align with the one in the wall. P-traps often come in only one or two sizes. Often the easiest solution is to add a piece to the pipe that comes from the wall.

This allows us to turn the P trap and add a 45-degree or 90-degree angle to it to make the connection.  Once this is done, it is a lot easier to make the connection between the two pieces of the drain.

It can take some trial and error to find the right connection. Most p-trap kits that you get in the store can be adjusted several times. This makes it easy to try different configurations. If you have to add a dishwasher or garbage disposal to the drain, it can be harder to get everything installed properly.

If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can contact a plumber. They can install a p-trap in less than 30 minutes.

Some people use flexible drains as they are cheap and easy to install. These are not durable though and plumbers don’t recommend them. A small leak can cause a lot of damage so it is better to pick a sturdy connection.

In the past, people used s-traps as well. These are not used anymore as they don’t work that well. It is best to replace them as they are not following the most recent code rules anymore. 

p trap in a tight space: too close to the wall and drain

The above method requires quite a lot of space under the sink. P-traps don’t come in a lot of sizes and need to be quite big for them to work. Sometimes this space is not available and you can’t install the p-trap. Luckily there have been some new systems that make this easier.

A bottle trap has the same function as a p-trap but requires less space. These traps are often more expensive as they are generally made out of metal instead of plastic. A bottle trap also has a water slot that keeps the dirt away from your sink but it is designed in another way. It is important that the bottle trap is installed completely level to avoid problems. 

Bottle traps shouldn’t be used in kitchens or areas that have to flush a lot of water. Bottle traps clog more easily and they can be harder to maintain. For this reason, it might be needed to clean the sink and drain stopper more often as dirt can get stuck before this trap. It is not recommended that you use them in bathrooms for this reason. 

Bottle traps are also more expensive than the standard p-traps that you can get in your local hardware store.

It is often possible to unclog a bottle trap with a plunger but sometimes you will have to open it up if there are more serious clogs. 

Once you have installed everything, you can test it. Let the water run for a few minutes and check under the drain to make sure that there are no leaks. Small water drips can add up so this should be fixed. If your gasket is leaking, you might need to add some plumbers putty (or silicone). 

To conclude, we can state that P-traps are essential parts of your plumbing system. Every sink must have one. It can be quite challenging to install one though. In this post, we have discussed some tricks that can help you to install the p-trap if it doesn’t align properly.

There are also some options for tighter spaces that have been discussed. Most DIY’ers should be able to install a P-trap Your plumber can help you with installing it as well if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Installing a p-trap is often quite easy. It can take some trial and error but you should be able to find the right solution. If it hasn’t been installed properly, you might have to deal with clogs. Luckily, it is quite easy to install a new p-trap if needed.